Introduction"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes " -Marcel Proust
This was the longest adventure of the year, but at the same time a very rewarding one. This is the sequel of the Glacier Peak Adventure. Gimpilator and Redwic had wanted to climb this peak for a while. They knew that I recently did the standard route and wanted someone to guide the way, so they hired me. I suppose one could say "I am never finished".
Before the trip even started I had a lot to take care of the night before the climb. Finally when I tried to get rest my dog kept me up and before long Redwic arrived at my house. "Oh boy" I thought as I grabbed my gear because I knew I was in for a long day of endurance.
Day 1: Pressing on to CampI bought some chocolate milk in Darrington (as always) and from here we got to the North Sauk River Trailhead. The hike started out relatively easy, and I was glad it was cool out. I was too concentrated with the climb to worry about photography until we got near White Pass. As we got towards White Pass my sleepiness started to catch up to me.
At the Pass we took a break, ate some donuts, and carried on hiking. After traversing the bottom of White Mountain, we missed the turn off for Glacier Peak because the lower fork in the trail looked more used. I told the group I did not remember traveling as far east as we were, but I guess we figured this was the summer trail. As we were walking along, Redwic says "How far does this trail go?" and ironically a few seconds later it ended. "Now what?" I was wondering as I looked up the slope. We decided to go up a small ridge to a highpoint. From here we traversed down the ridge and onto the original path. This must have added a few extra miles... oh well.
I took a break to get some water and food while everyone else went ahead. It took me an awful deal of time to get everything repacked and head out, by the time I started running, they were out of view. I did not want to be left behind so I charged up the hill, which ended up tiring me out. Fortunately they were not as far as I had worried, they stopped for me on a rock out cropping. As I layed down, I was told to find some shade to protect my face from the sun. I was very tired by this point, and laying on the ground was not comfortable. When I tried to reach my water bottle I noticed how hard something as simple as that became. I suppose the fact that I been up 28 hours had an effect on that. Once I got up, the dizziness faded off, and I felt well enough to head to Glacier Gap.
The going was tiring, I was getting more and more drained as we headed up. "C'mon, you can do it, you must do it, no giving up this early" I kept chanting in my head as we were heading towards Glacier Gap. I'm amazed I was able to endure it, not just mentally, but earlier I had feared that if I stopped, I could easily fall asleep in an instant. Before heading out for the trip I had wanted a challenge, but I soon realized this was a little much for me, next time I think I'll get a better nights rest.
Once we got to Glacier Gap we set up Camp, and I was finally able to rest. In the distance we saw a small cloud which at first I did not think much of it, but it kept getting bigger and bigger. Once it got quite big and dark, we all wondered if there was a forest fire near the city of Holden or around Lake Chelan. Michael cooked me some top romen which was very nice. This was by far the hardest day of the trip, as I went to bed, I hoped that tomorrow would not be worse. I slept right away until wake up time.
During the night in a sense one could say I am still climbing, I had a dream I was climbing a mountain and we got caught in a terrible storm. When we got down, we were in the city late at night and were wondering "how are we going to get home?" A nice bus driver said "I'll take you home" which we trusted. She ended up being a crazy driver. Fortunately it was only a dream which was similar to my Rainier trip on the bus ride when we swerved and I almost fell out of the bus.
Day 2: Summiting Glacier PeakAt 1:49 a.m. I woke up to mice trying to get our stuff. "They're still after our food at this altitude?". Michael and I had to chase them away, but they were very persistent and would only come back 10 seconds later. I checked the time on my camera watch which was 1:59 a.m. "Awww man!" I said aloud, because I had wanted some more sleep, but I knew in less than a minute the rest of the party would wake up for the climb up Glacier Peak. We stashed our stuff in the snow, got our stuff ready, and began heading towards Glacier Peak.
Once we got over the small pass, we started dealing with hard snow, which got a little steep. Everyone except for me started putting on there crampons, but I knew there was not enough time for me to do so, so I used the time to put on gaitors. The group seemed concerned that I did not put mine on. Michael and I headed down a slope which led to some rocks, after this we rejoined with Redwic and Gimpilator. Once we got on the ridge, we were finally on Glacier Peak. The starting out was tougher on me then most of the group, I was always pushing myself to keep up with everyone. As we were climbing up I could see a big cloud to the south, and to my amazement I could see red lightning bolts. Eventually we all had to put on crampons, and shortly after roped up.
As usual I was the guy in the front, things got easier from here. I figured the team still wanted to go fast, so when I went fast everyone told me to slow down which was a relief. After crossing the bottom of the Dissapointment, we got to the Cool Glacier which is when the crevasses started coming on. I had to carefully traverse a few, but after this it was much easier. Although I did not travel on a boot path by this point, I saw one in the distance which I got onto. There was one other crevasse which involved some careful crossing, but beyond this there was little crevasse danger. Once we got to the ridge we unroped.
From here we scrambled up the final approach gulley to the summit. There was no ice coming down this time. I was very happy when we got to the top, even though I had already been there. The time was 8:15 a.m. Gimpilator had red vines and some other food to share.
We noticed the temperature rapidly getting warmer, so after 15-20 minutes on the summit we started heading down. When we got back to the lower portion of the ridge we reroped up. As we headed down towards one of the crevasses, I was surprised at how much softer the snow had gotten. At the snow bridge I tested to see how solid it was, my ice axe went straight though. I could see it was also over hanging. I told Michael "watch me!". I carefully traversed to the right until I found a good enough spot to cross, my ice axe still plunged through, but now I could at least some what safely jump it.
After I was done, Michael crossed it, Redwic decided we should go even further over so that he has a safe crossing. When he jumped, his foot partly sank in, but he had enough speed so that he was fine, then Gimpilator crossed it, now we were all past it. From here there was only one more crevasse crossing. On the last one I realized it was not going to last long, Michael predicted it would only last a day or so. From here the danger was out of the way. We then headed for the ridge.
At the ridge we unroped, and headed down. I got a pretty good glissade, but soon realized I was on a Glacier and headed back to the ridge. From here we went back over the pass and to our camp. I went to sleep quite fast. An hour later I was woken up because we had to go. "I was in my nice warm bed sleeping, and now I have to wake up to the miserable reality" I mumbled to myself as I was getting up. I felt soar all over, and was quite tired. Fortunately some water helped fix that. Now we had to head over to White Pass. Traveling was not as bad as I had expected it to be, we reached the bottom of the Plug in decent timing.
From here Redwic and the rest of us got in a debate on which way to go to White Pass. We ended up going the Standard way. After a while we started to head up the pass. I wondered how bad the next two days were going to be, not only was I tired, but Michael and I were low on food. As we got towards White Pass we separated a little, Michael and I were in the front while Redwic and Gimpilator were in the back. While Gimpilator and Redwic took a stop, they saw an amazing marmot fight which I thought was one of the most interesting things I have ever heard of while in the mountains.
From here we got to White Pass, searched for a camp ground and set up camp. The mosquitoes were back. As I was unpacking our things, Joanna was walking towards our camp site. Redwic told Gimpilator and Gimpilator said "I'm not falling for that one" which it really was her. I had told her I was going here, but was not sure if she actually was coming. I took a few photos of the sunset and went to bed.
Day 3: White Mountain, Portal Peak, and OutThe next morning there was clouds all around, it was quite misty, and I was very tired. Michael told me my boots were wet as well. Now I was unsure if I wanted to climb White Mountain or not, if there were no views, I would for sure get blisters, and it would be tough, would it be worth it? I almost gave up and went to sleep. But in the back of my mind a voice rang to me "Where is your sense of Adventure? This is not like you, your going to go out and do this!". Of course I gave in, and put sense to the side and got up.
I had to filter some water before heading out, Michael made some tasty hot chocolate for us. We then went to White Pass to climb White Mountain. At the top the views were quite good. Not long after we summited we traversed over to Portal Peak.
As we went along, Joanna knew that the PCT was only 50 feet below us, and from there it was a nice walk to Red Pass. Once at Red Pass it was a little bit of a scramble over some rocks, and from there we were near the summit. On the summit Joanna gave us some chips which we had a mini party. Redwic said "oh too bad, the peak is only 6,999 feet, just short of 7,000 feet". "I'll change that!" I exclaimed to Redwic, and he did not believe I could change it. I found a slanted rock, stashed it on, found more rocks, and after a while got it well over a foot taller. After this we went down to White Pass.
At Camp I heard Thunder which we all knew it was time to dash out of there. We packed up camp, and went down towards the car. I met HulkSmash as we were heading down. We took a break at the shelter below. Then we met Opus, and were soon at the trailhead. It was a amazing trip, and it was neat to see more nwhikers. Another great trip in the mountains.